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Meijer Inc. is a chain of American grocery supercenters that was founded in 1934 by Hendrik Meijer. About half of the company’s 244 stores are located in Michigan, with the other half in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Henrik Meijer was a Dutch immigrant who worked as a barber before entering the grocery business during the Great Depression of 1929. He founded his first store in Greenville, Michigan in 1949.
His 14-year-old son, Frederik, one of his first employees, later became chairman of the company. Today, Henrik’s grandsons, Hank and Doug, are co-chairmen.
Meijer’s was one of the first stores to offer self-service shopping and shopping carts.
With the success of the Greenville store, Meijer opened two more in Ionia and Cedar Springs. By the 1960s, the company had over two dozen stores located throughout West Michigan.
In 1962, Meijer launched its first modern format store in Grand Rapids. It combined both grocery and department store shopping in a 180,000 square foot building. The store was built with six-inch thick floors in case the concept failed, in which case, the non-grocery half could be converted into an indoor car dealership.
Fred Meijer took over the company upon his father’s death in 1964.
The Meijer chain was ranked nineteenth on the Forbes 2015 list of America’s largest private companies. and in 2016, Supermarket News ranked Meijer fifteenth in the Top 75 U.S. & Canadian Food Retailers & Wholesalers.
On November 25, 2011, Frederik Meijer died at the age of 91. In 2013, Meijer opened its 200th supercenter in Swartz Creek, Michigan.
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